Saturday, 24 September 2016

REVIEW: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

4/5

Reunite The Seven.

133 Minutes. Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Matt Bomer & Peter Sarsgaard. Director: Antoine Fuqua.

Draw! 'The Magnificent Seven' really does ride again. As 'Olympus Has Fallen' and 'Southpaw' hand Antoine Fuqua reunites with his 'Training Day' Oscar winning leading man, Denzel Washington again, like he did with 'The Equalizer' shoot-out franchise starter two Summers back that will give the legend his first ever sequel in a series akin to a 'Bourne' or Tom Cruise 'Jack Reacher'. As the power pair-much like an 80's Kurt Russell and John Carpenter, or the heights Washington reached with the late, great Tony Scott on the 'Unstoppable', 'Deja-Vu' train tracks of remakes of classics like 'The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3'-remake the Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn and Charles Bronson sixties western classic, itself a remake of the 'Seven Samurai' legend by Akira Kurosawa. Taking it back to the old west and sneaking in the last Summer blockbuster of the 'Civil War' year late September before this falls Oscar seasons star wars, this ensemble cast of at last Hollywood diversity must assemble like some old Avengers for a mainstream remake that may not be as bloody as 'Django Unchained', but is certainly no 'Wild, Wild West'. In this 'Bone Tomahawk' and even best film of the year (so far) 'Hell Or High Water' neo Western redux age it looks like the spurs of cowboy boots are a snake in the boots, standing on the back of all your favourite superheroes capes. And with legend Steven Speilberg predicting that comic-book movies will end up going the way of the old rio westerns in this 'Westworld' era fit for an Elmore Leonard or Cormac McCarthy meets Phillip K. Dick maybe it all does go around like a six-shooters chamber. Because this is more than a remake...it's redemption. A job for more than one man. More like seven wild seals. Line 'em up...

1. The Bounty Hunter. Denzel Washington plays sworn federal marshall Sam Chisholm with a grit that's true but also the genuine gravitas that has marked Denzel's career. From 'Glory' to 'The Bone Collector', 'Courage Under Fire' to 'Man On Fire', 'American Gangster' to '2 Guns' and every other big blockbuster under his belt or Oscar in his holster. In all black everything down to a horse not pale, this rider is not death. He's justice. It's the integral part of every character Washington lends his hand too (apart from the first lawman he copped with Antoine), integrity. And how great that and he is. 2. The Gambler. Chris Pratt plays Josh Farraday and his Hollywood cards right as a man who is as adept with two smokin' pistols as he is a pair of aces. More Gambit than Star-Lord here, if 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' made him a Harrison Ford, Han Solo like household name, this volume is his Indiana Jones in 'Jurassic World' khakis. Sure this new face of the franchises, partnering sci-fi leading man, sitting shotgun 'Passenger' to Jennifer Lawrence this Christmas may be playing second fiddle here, but the only charmer as charismatic in the West is Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday. Now whose your Huckleberry? 3. The Sharpshooter. In playing distance gunner Goodnight Robicheaux, Ethan Hawke reunites with both Denzel and director Fuqua of their collective 'Training Day' breakout. And his first reunion meeting with Washington makes for a beautiful moment a lot different than the last time these two met. The 'Boyhood', 'Before' star who has seasoned from blockbusters to Oscars over the years is sharp as a tack here. Even if his 'Good Kill' reputation trigger man is floundering with his blunderbuss. In a busy, best year that could go all the way to the Academy with 'Born To Be Blue' the soulful Ethan of jazz offbeat roles is hawking his name to great effect here. He's already been out west once this year, facing off with John Travolta like Denzel in 'Pelham' for 'In The Valley Of Violence' and now the wild talent is back in the saloon. Slide a shot across the bar for him. Think he's had enough? Goodnight!

4. The Tracker. Vincent D'Onofrio's big bear with salt and pepper hair, Jack Horne shows this 'Mag 7' is more than just a big-three. Tracking down yet another accented performance, the voice of 'Daredevil's' Kingpin reunties with another 'Jurassic' Marvel as Chris pratts around with him for some good natured fun. Just make sure you say his name though, for this guy in skin and leather chaps. Vincent D'Onofrio is one of the good ones. 5. The Assassin. It's going to take a few more good men for this job however and Korean Byung-hun Lee is so good with knives he could clear any table...even those hiding under it. The 'G.I. Joe' star who last year took the latest 'Terminator' back to the T-1000 'Genisys' of it's cop character has a deadshot look in his eye only matched by his sniper precise kill skill-set. The rest is no cut contest. 6. The Outlaw. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez really knows how to spin a pistol, just as well as he knows how to spin a stereotype round on its head and put the joke on you. Make all the barroom drunk tequila jokes you want. This 'Dusk Till Dawn' T.V. series star will have the last shot. 7. The Comanche. Martin Sensmeier's Red Harvest completes the seven and this 'Westworld' star brings great honor to his Indian role. If you thought it was all about the stetsons and spurs of cowboys than just wait until this guy puts his war paint on and gets his Hawkeye going. This guy is so Legolas good with a bow and arrow who needs guns? Now Washington and Antoine's 'Equalizer- co-star Haley Benettt is set to break out this year with this and the bestseller of the year, novel adaptation of 'The Girl On The Train' movie expected soon. But after her husband (Matt Bomer on a great turn of his own after playing the bad one in this years 'The Nice Guys') is murdered in the coldest of bloods (yep this is shorter (and spoiler) than what he clocked in 'In Time', but just like that you saw it all in the trailer) this no damsel in distress is a wonder who could make for the magnificence's eighth. All oppossed to the hateful villain played bile vile, sickingley so by a brutually brilliant Peter Sarsgaard. Who looks as born for this role as the 'Black Mass'/'Blue Jasmine' character actor does for the big time. You think a familiar face like this is in more films...because he deserves to be so. All these 'Magnificent Seven' themes like the iconic one are drawn together perfectly by Antoine Fuqua who knows how to direct the old Hollywood west as well as he knows how to showcase a gunfight for the modern mainstream more chest puffing than John Wayne clutching, sternum smoking. Co-wrote by 'True Detective's' Nic Pizzolatto, who with his classic series 1 one-shot, or the epic 'Heat' of season 2 knows how to script a gun battle away from mindless action and into the emotional stakes firing line cross-hairs of what a story is all about. And this one about a band of outlaw brothers protecting a hard working town from rachet evil oppression is a show of by any means necessary solidarity in a time where the world and Hollywood resemble more of the old backwards west than a new frontier on the horizon. With amazing action and subtle smarts in culture and history this cinematic blockbuster totes more than ammo and fires more tham buckshot. We could watch these rifle men repeat like Winchester after a 'Last Samurai' cutting down finale to the end of the barrells chamber. But will 'The Magnificent Seven' ride once again? Or just into the sunset? Either way these heroes for hire are legends like the fall. What did you say these men were called again? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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